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crowley party

a "utah" mormon...

Posted on: 11.28.2012

a shot from back in my university of utah days :) circa 2008

Moving to Utah for school did something to me that I wasn't expecting. It made me more aware of the fact that I was Mormon then I have ever felt before in my life.

I went to the University of Utah not knowing a soul attending there. I had left my family, friends and boyfriend back home. And I was experiencing this awareness of my religion in a heightened sense. Mormonism was everywhere, it was at the forefront of my mind.

Where I grew up was made up of a relatively diverse group of people. There wasn't one dominating homogeneous group. Coming to Utah was a culture shock - and I am a Mormon! Go figure.
 
I will admit, it was nice to feel apart of the "group" because of my religion, something I didn't experience growing up in San Diego. But it was also very different and odd for me to be surrounded by so many people that believed the same things, and that acted the same way etc. That was just something I was not used to.

Living in Utah I have never had to feel uncomfortable because I am a Mormon. But as I have lived here, I can't help but comment on the phenomenon of the Utah Mormon culture. I know a lot of members get upset when they hear the term "Utah Mormon", and I am not trying to stereotype all members of the Church from Utah or people who live in Utah, but there is no denying that growing up as a Mormon in parts of Utah is very different then growing up outside of the heavily Mormon populated state. I am not saying one is better, just different. Very different.

I was not used to seeing an LDS Church on every block, or not having to explain Mormon terminology to people. I grew up always giving the definition of a "church word" so people would understand what I was talking about. For example, I had just moved to Salt Lake City and I was talking to a girl I had met on the trax on my way to class and was saying how I had a ward activity and quickly added that a ward was what we called the group of people you attend church with based on where you live etc. You should have seen the look she gave me... like "yeah, duh, I know." Well sorry, I wasn't used to people "just knowing."

I also couldn't help but notice that a lot of people who are not Mormon are not huge fans of living among a bunch of Mormons. Now that is not everyone, I know a lot of people who love living among Mormons! But with that said I have met quite a bit of people who do not like living here and are bitter or upset about the Mormon culture that they have to deal with on a daily basis, and I am not sure I can blame them completely.

I am obviously bringing up a lot of stereotypes here, but the fact of the matter is, there is truth to it.

I guess I am trying to pose the question for those of you who are Mormon who grew up in Utah, do you see this? Do you recognize this in your culture here? Do you even think there is a culture? I am fascinated by this aspect of my religion and how it pertains specifically to Utah and would love to hear some insight from people who experienced it, Mormon or not.

107 little notes:

  1. Although we grew up in the same area, I totally agree with you. There is a total culture up there. Derek is from a town in Idaho with like 900 people- mostly all LDS. They NEVER did Youth Conference, no one went to EFY, no stake activities/dances, nothing. He said, "What was the point when we saw eachother at school everyday or at a football game." I told him he was so deprived! I liked living away from a "culture" and Derek and I want to raise our children in a place where they are around a lot of different religions and people. I think it's good to learn tolerance, respect, and love at a young age!

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    1. He totally did miss out on the fun stake and ward activities they do for the youth! haha &I agree completely about how it being surrounded by so many other religions and people, I feel it made me very well rounded.

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  2. I've lived in Utah my whole life, so I don't really know any different. Though the time I have spent out of the state I've noticed that people who aren't LDS are curious about us, while people in Utah who aren't LDS are really just sick and tired of us. My mom grew up in Portland and then moved here, and she said she found it actually easier to follow the teachings of the LDS Church in Oregon. There is a lot of pressure in Utah to be an upstanding Mormon, and that pressure gets to be too much for some people. It permeates your entire life, I mean in high school EVERYONE went to seminary, and the ones who didn't go never really fit in I am actually not active in the Church anymore, and I can say part of the reason is because of the atmosphere here and how it's like a big competition at all times to see who is the most faithful. Traveling to other places really opened my eyes to how close minded Utah people can be. Not to say I don't believe in the Church anymore, because I do and not to say I don't love Utah, because I do, but this place really is like living in a bubble.

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    1. I totally felt like being a member outside of the Utah made me really look deep at a younger age about how I wanted to live my life and if I wanted to be Mormon way sooner then it would have happened had I been raised in Utah. Sometimes I feel like the members here are so used to it it is more of a culture then an actual religion. (I know I am stereotyping here) haha

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  3. I love reading any posts about Mormonism. Especially this one being about Utah + Mormons. (I'm the one who e-mailed you earlier :) But, my husband, baby, and I are moving to Utah soon, and we are not Mormons. We are Christians, but still... we actually chose to move to Utah partly because of Mormons. From what I've gathered .. it seems to be a very moral and family friendly place.. and that is definitely something we are looking for while raising our small family. I love how you guys do tons of things together. I actually wish Christians had more of that going on! Unfortunately, finding decent and moral places to live is getting harder and harder to find.
    I should add, that I totally realize no place is perfect.

    The one thing I do wonder about is if we will feel left out because we are not actually Mormons (I totally realize that Mormons are Christians too.. just with different beliefs about certain subjects) But hopefully this isn't the case and I'll be able to find people to connect with, despite minor differences in beliefs! :)

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    1. Bethany, Utah is definitely a great place to raise a family when it comes to the the family oriented atmosphere and high morals! I feel that you will find both when you come here when it comes to feeling left out or being included. At the end of the day, people are people and there will be people who welcome you with open arms and invite you to everything and those who like to stick with there "circle." This is true of anywhere though so I think if you know what you are coming for, you will love it. Plus, we can always hang out ;) haha

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    2. Bethany,
      That is exciting that you are moving with your family to Utah. I lived out of state for a while and loved it, but there was no place like Utah. The people here are friendly and welcoming weather you are Mormon or not. The communities here are amazing with helpful people. A community should never be divided based on a person's religious beliefs. I have many friends and family members that are not Mormon and I love them the same! Good luck with your travels :)

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    3. You both are so sweet! Some of the nicest people I have met in blog land are mormons ... I really think we'll love it. I can't wait to live amongst you all :)

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  4. thank you! i'm from california as well and moving here has been a complete culture shock. i miss having daily missionary experiences where i can explain what a "ward" is. i also felt like i had a stronger testimony because i had to truly stand up for what i believe in and i also had tight friendships with the few other mormons because we were the few that understood each other. but here, there is so much competition and everyone is watching you to make sure you don't slip up. it's a lot of pressure in all the wrong ways. also, even my husband has a hard time being open about other ideas, people and religion. i grew up where they were gay people, catholics, athiests, and hardcore liberals everywhere and we accepted them. now that i'm in utah, i find that a lot of people don't mean to hate, but they definitely don't try understand other people and their beliefs. yeah, a lot of generalizations here and i don't want to offend, this is just the general view i have of the place/culture. but. i must admit. i CANT WAIT till we move back to california.

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    1. Bethany you took the words right out of my mouth! haha AS I stated above I really feel like being raised outside of Utah was crucial for me in obtaining a strong testimony at a much younger age then I normally would have - that of course is just my experience personally. I have grown to love it here, but I do miss California and wish I could move back sometimes haha.

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  5. This is so interesting. I was having this discussion with some friends the other day. I'm a Mormon from Arkansas and though only having visited Utah once, the culture is extremely different. While it is nice to be surrounded by so many with the same beliefs, I like living where it is harder to be a Mormon. I never become complacent. Even from my very short experience there, I know I could not thrive in Utah. I'm extremely competitive by nature and Utah is Mormon Hollywood. I feel there is constant pressure to be the best, have the best, etc.

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    1. I feel you Jessica! While my teenager self would hate to admit it, I do miss having so many missionary experiences and sticking up for my beliefs, it truly helps you define what your morals are and learn how to better articulate them to people.

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  6. I grew up in Maine, but as a young kid I didn't have an awareness of being a different religion than everyone else.I lived in Bountiful, UT for a few years (9-14) before moving BACK to Maine, but it didn't really affect me that I was suddenly immersed in an predominately LDS community. It was just the way life was.

    When I moved back to Maine for HS, to the town I originally grew up in, I felt the difference. I felt like I couldn't date anyone (even though there were TONS of nice people) and I felt like I could never fit in.

    I moved back to UT for college and brought a life-long east-coaster and convert with me as a roommate. She was so surprised when she moved to UT and found out it wasn't perfect. She actually told me she expected it to be like Zion.

    The problem I faced living in Maine that second time was people having the misconception that the more Mormons there are, the better. That isn't always true! The members in my tiny branch in Maine had to travel 30 minutes to get to church/activities. We were often the only LDS students in our schools. I feel like we worked harder to be more faithful when there were so few of us.

    In UT, I noticed some my friends seemed to take everything for granted and they acted as if everything revolved around the church. I actually couldn't stand to date LDS guys when I was in college because they were so hypocritical and annoying. I ended up marrying someone from Nebraska who is LDS, but had never heard of EFY or served a mission. He was more "real" to me than the other LDS guys I tried dating.

    So... yes. I have experienced that "Utah Bubble" you're talking about. Annnd, end rant!

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  7. I felt the exact same way when I moved to Utah. I think my testimony was weakened a lot by moving there because of the constant judgement I felt at all times. Although I did make a handful of really good LDS friends who were not so stereotypically Utah Mormon. I grew up in Phoenix where there were not a substantial amount of Mormons. I loved being Mormon...until I moved to Utah. Mormonism in UT is a completely different culture than Mormonism outside of Utah and I found myself explaining that quite a bit to my non member friends that I made up at the U. My experiences in my University wards in SLC were terrible. I felt like everyone was the exact same...Molly Mormon/Peter Priesthood and soooo "Utah". That sounds terrible haha but I really hated that part of my experience there. I love Utah, it really is my favorite place. It's such a fun and beautiful location. But the culture is what really makes me question wether or not I could ever move back.

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  8. This is a very interesting point that you bring up, I actually have been thinking about this a lot lately. I grew up in Salt Lake City and I am mormon. I recently moved to Florida about three months ago. I never really noticed any culture difference while I lived in Utah but now that I have moved away it is a crazy difference. And I actually miss it... The church is obviously the same every where we go, which I am so incredibly grateful for but the people who attend the church are different everywhere you go. I think it is definitely a matter of what you are comfortable with but I truly miss being around all the members. :)

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    1. There is definitely a sense of comfort here for members of the Church!

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  9. I was born in Utah, and lived there most of my life. I am the only grandkid on my Dad's side not baptised as a Mormon, and have always kind of been the black sheep, if you will. Growing up as a kid and not being Mormon, was hard, I won't lie. Parents think you're a bad influence on their kids just because you don't go to church.. Obviously not everybody, but a large majority. I have tougher skin so it didn't bother me much, but my little (half) sister has come home crying some days because some parents can be so mean to a child who doesn't go to church.. I live in Arizona now, which has a large population of Mormons, and honestly, sometimes it almost feels like an entirely different Religion. It's hard to explain why exactly, but just people here in Arizona are a little more laid back with those of us who aren't Mormon.

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    1. I have made several non member friends here with children who say the members of the church don't let their kids hang out with theirs because they aren't Mormon... and that just breaks my heart! If I had only hung out with Mormon people where I grew up, I would have had like two friends! haha I know not all Mormons are like this, but I do wish the ones that were could see that we need to be raising our kids to be in the world and be friends with people and belief they can still decide to hold on to whatever important values we are teaching them.

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    2. I had an experience where I listened to the women in Relief Society talking about how they'd never let their son or daughter date someone who isn't LDS. It broke my heart. My boyfriend was LDS when I wasn't, and he completely accepted me and never pressured me to join. His family was the same way. If it weren't for meeting him and learning from his family, I never would have even joined the church. Still just thinking about it makes me so angry.

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  10. I definitely can't imagine being surrounded by one type of religion for my whole life. I'm not a mormon but I have lived in a few different places in Canada and the US and I can definitely agree that things can happen in homogenous communities that wouldn't necessarily happen somewhere where there was a large amount of diversity. Things become "the norm" that so aren't normal haha. I definitely want my children to be exposed to a loving church community but in the context of diversity and tolerance of all types of cultures and religions.

    Great thought provoking post Alycia!

    -Kelsey @ Time Stand Still

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  11. I've lived the majority of my life in Utah, but I spent my elementary years in Venezuela. I was the only LDS person I knew of at school. Did I mention it was basically Catholic school? I went to my friends' First Communions and our choir would sing at the cathedrals and churches. I grew up with an appreciation and love for all kinds of different people, cultures, and religions...and while I LOVE Utah...sometimes is so depressing to see narrow-mindedness, the closed-off attitudes, and general intolerance that is so prevalent in the predominant Utah culture. Even worse, it is just fostered and cultivated and passed on from generation to generation to generation. I work around a lot of older senior citizens, and now I know where the racism, bigotry, and hypocrisy in my generation comes from--wonderful, LDS senior citizens is where it comes from. I think it is imperative that we take a good look at our attitudes and make sure we foster tolerance and love in the hearts of the children to come.

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  12. I grew up in Seattle and then moved to Boise, Idaho. I remember being really shocked by seminary during school hours and having so many LDS friends. But in Boise, I had a great group of friends who were NOT LDS. Then I went to school in Rexburg, Idaho. The city of Rexburg kind of drove me nuts, but I found most of the students at BYU-Idaho to be good, open-minded people who wanted to do the right thing. THEN I moved to Salt Lake while my husband finishes up at the U. I took a class there, and I have to say I have never felt more hatred toward me because of my religion. I have really struggled to make friends here because being "all about family" means not really letting anyone else into your life. I have found that my religion is brought up in brief encounters- at the post office, the grocery store, on the bus. I was taught that discussing religion and politics was taboo! Living here, not only is it consistently assumed that I am LDS, but how I must treat my family and how I MUST feel about social issues and sometimes I feel really unfairly judged.
    This comment became a lot longer than I had intended.
    The point is, I have seen people move to Utah and really find "home." It is not a horrible place, but I think it definitely takes a certain kind of personality to gel here and me and my family just don't seem to have it. I'll miss the lights at Temple Square and City Creek, but other than that 2.5 years will be MORE than enough for us.

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    1. I went to school at the U and faced a lot of people judging me in regards to hearing I am Mormon and thinking they know everything about me just from that that... so annoying! But I think it happens on both sides! Oh and I wish City Creek had been built and finished when I was up there haha just my luck ;)

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  13. I love discussing utah mormoms vs non utah mormons. It's so interesting. I'll add my stories. I am a non utah mormon. I did live in Idaho for a year while attending college. I have visited friends and family in Utah. I loved growing up outside of Utah. I apprieciated the church and my church friends. I always felt good about myself. Living in Idaho there were so many from UT and ID. I felt like a no one. I felt if I wasn't from UT or ID then I didn't matter. I was miserable. I didn't go back to school and later attended college in CA and was much happier. After I was married I met a woman who grew up in UT and that's all she talked about. How much nicer it was in UT. How the church was better and the people were better. It came across really bad since I wasn't a UT mormon. I never said anything to her but I was appalled. A couple years later I visited my sister in law and her family in Logan. We attended her ward sacrament meeting. Seemed normal just like my ward at home till the bishopric member stood up to start the meeting and the congregation was still talking and they just kept talking. I turned to my husband and I said why are people still talking. Rude and disrepectful. I was again appalled. Then last summer I visited friends and family in Provo & Draper. Now I always wanted to live in Provo and go to BYU. I thought it would be so fun but my experience last summer left another sour taste in my mouth. Everyone I came in contact with was unfriendly, no smilies, no hi or hello. Everyone just seemed miserable with their lot in life. From my experiences I would say there is definitely a difference.

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    1. That is sad you had so many bad experiences Angela! I actually had the same thing happen in my ward growing up. A family moved in from Utah and she literally complained for years about how much better Utah was because everyone was Mormon... and I have actually had people tell me to my face that I couldn't be as good of a member since I grew up in California and not Utah... just makes me shake my head.

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  14. oh man! i've loved reading all the comments so far. i've had conversations about this many time with all sorts of people. i'm not even sure how it gets brought up, but it does. i've never lived in utah myself, but i've visted many times in my life. i enjoy living were i am, in good ol Arizona. I'm sure it's nice to be surrounded by a whole crop of people with the same morals and beliefs, but i agree with what i've read, the pressure i'm sure would be crazy to be the best of the best. even just visting i've found that people in other area are a little more tolerant to differences (among the people i've meet). Utah is great, dont' get me wrong, but just soooo different and i little too different for me. :) oh and i am mormon, just thought i'd add that in there.

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  15. I never noticed that the culture intense here in Utah until I moved away to Washington DC with my husband. Yet, when we lived in DC people always noticed something was different about us? People would always stop me in the streets while I was taking the baby I nannied on a walk. One day a lady stopped me and said, " There is something different about you, where are you from? I told her Utah and she replied, "you must be a Mormon". It was a very odd thing for me.I didn't understand why I was "sticking out" so much. I knew the area and never seemed like a tourist... I still don't know why she said that, it was kind of a cool experience. Living out of Utah was a good thing. It made me appreciate my religion even more. Even though I was away from our family I had my ward family. I knew what I believed and I was proud of it. When we moved back I was grateful. i love the LDS community. I feel at times there are many judgmental people, but I look past that and try not to be that person. I love the gospel and the strength it brings me , no matter where I am living.

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    1. Such a cool experience you had! I love that - thanks for sharing :)

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  16. Oh how I recognize it. I suuureee do! I feel like it's because everyone is mormon. You aren't different. You're just "part of the group." Where in other states, you are different. And you have a better reason to believe it. There is a HUGE population of Mormon's in Utah. Right? Which makes even more of the Mormon's to be nonbelievers now. Which makes everyone feel like it's because we're in Utah. Did that make sense at all? haha!


    we and serendipity

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  17. How fun!! I love the picture with everybody smiling! so great.... sam..aka..samantha

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  18. Reading all these comments definitely makes me wish that I never have to move to Utah! I've never been. I'm mormon and I'd like to visit, but hearing all these stories of competition amongst all the other members kind of angers me? I hate competition! haha. I can see why there is so much competition though... So yes. I love living in New Mexico :)

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    1. haha oh Beverly, it still is a great place to live :) we are all just talking about a portion of the culture here!

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  19. the only mormons I know are through blogs! haha like seriously I seemed to have found all the mormon bloggers when I first started. Which isn't bad, just found it funny.
    I would like to visit UT some time just to see how it would be different. Some interesting conversations would come up for sure as I don't share all the same beliefs as mormons do. But i'm all for sharing :-)

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  20. I have totally experienced this first hand. I moved here when I was 16 from Maryland and was completely shocked. I had never really met anyone that was mormon where I lived before and knew nothing about the religion or the stereotypes that surrounded it. I was so excited to start at a new school and meet a bunch of new people but it turned out to be a lot harder for me than I expected. People were not very warm or open and I spent the first few months wandering around the halls at lunch by myself and feeling very uncomfortable. I didn't understand why and came to realize later that it was probably because I was not getting socialized in the mormon churches and therefore it was very hard for me to make friends. Also, right when we first moved in (my family lives in Draper) one of our neighbors came over and asked us "what ward are you in" and my mom replied "what's a ward?", the woman kind of scoffed and never spoke to us again. Some of these experiences made me very bitter for a very long time. I graduated high school early and came up to the University of Utah. I did not live on campus my first semester (because I went during the spring) but I did the following fall. I learned to absolutely love Salt Lake City and have met some amazing people (both Mormon and non-mormon). I still do get uncomfortable when people ask me if I am LDS or not, because I am afraid that they will not accept me. I think there definitely is a difference here but I also believe that there is a place here for everyone. Salt Lake City is definitely an interesting place and I think that intrigues a lot of people. One misconception that I think a lot of people have is that EVERYONE is Mormon and that is definitely not true.

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    1. I feel you on this! People assume they know you if you say your are or are not Mormon here... um, were not all the same!

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  21. This post and all of these comments are very interesting.... I am a mormon, born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. The heart of it all. I of course have notice many of the things mentioned above. I have now lived away from utah for six years- I moved away at a young age to become a professional ballerina. I am so surprised at how my views of Salt Lake have so drastically changed over the years. I LOVE UTAH. Love it. I would kill to live at home with my family- I love the surroundings, the nature, the people, the emphasis on family, etc. However, I have noticed that there is a ginormous bubble around utah mormons; everyone knows everyone- as in all the facts. This creates the "sin" of comparison. I feel as though lots of things end up being a competition or a "keep up with the jones" situation. That has been hard for me! Although in the grand scheme of things- Utah is a beautiful place to live. The "Mormon Culture" in Utah may be thick, and have it's pros and cons, but all in all I think it's a wonderful culture to be a part of. I am happy you have enjoyed your experiences in Utah- I think it would only be natural and normal for an outsider to make all the observations that you did! Again, Thanks for sharing this post! It was thoroughly interesting to read! xo

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    1. You said it perfectly! I by no means wanted this post to come off that I don't like Utah or that people here are ALL the same. It is just an interesting side note to living here in Utah that I find very interesting!

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  22. I bet this is like "Italian Catholics" versus "American Catholics" - the differences are more than religion, they're cultural.

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  23. I don't even know where to start... I grew up in St George, born and raised Mormon. Now I live in Texas and from what I've learned, "Utah Mormon's" are a little sheltered? Not that that's a bad thing. It just seems like a lot of people in Utah go to church cause that's what their expected to do and that's what everyone around them does. In my experience living in Texas, I go to church with a lot of converts and they go because they really want to go and learn, not because they don't want to be an outcast? Does that even make sense? However I loved living in Utah because it's a lot easier living around so many people who believe in the same things as you but I seriously think every one needs the experience of living outside of Utah. I really hope I didn't offend anyone :)

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    1. totally makes sense! growing up I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to go to early morning seminary, waking up and going was because it was a choice that I wanted to go and be there! haha Not because it was an extra elective class conveniently while I was at school.

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    2. Denise- very good explanation and it makes a lot of sense. It reminds me of the christian high school I went to.. several kids were forced to go there.. so it really lacked that genuine Christ-like atmosphere.
      When I went off to a Christian college.. I thought the environment was so different because people were CHOOSING to go there because of their faith.. and it really made it a genuine atmosphere.. because no one was being forced .. it was all choice.

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    3. Since I had someone e-mail me regarding my comment about early morning seminary, I wanted to clarify in case someone reads it the wrong way. When I mentioned waking up for early morning seminary I meant that I had to make the choice to make the effort to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to go before school, and I was making the point (maybe not well) that it is much easier and convenient to go to seminary here in Utah because the schools cater to it. By me saying that I did not imply that kids here in Utah are not still making the choice to go to seminary and learn for themselves, but pointing out little decisions like this are made much easier for the youth because they live in a State that fully supports and caters to the Mormon religion.

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  24. Hehe. I grew up in Utah and haven't lived anywhere else, so I guess I didn't really notice it until I went to college (still in Utah...) and started realizing that Utah was unique in those ways you described. Also ever since I started dating Eric, since he grew up in California, he pointed things out to me and we talked about how different our upbringing was in such different places. So I feel more aware of it now, and frankly would like to experience the "other side" of it. :) HA! It's a very interesting topic.

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  25. i'm from texas and moved here to go to byu. there have been so many times i wanted to rip my hair out over the utah mormon culture! i am LDS but it is so, so different here. i really do sense intolerance a lot. my best friends growing up were jewish-i went to bar and bat mitzvahs, shabbot, hanukkah parties, etc. i loved it! there are also a ton of religious people in dallas in general. far less judgmental. oh i miss it. my husband is from broken arrow ok and we really would like to go back to one of those places at some point. i actually would like to not raise my children here in utah because of the exclusivity and intolerance that exists. hopefully he finds a job back home!

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  27. I've heard a lot about utah mormons. It's good to get out (of Utah) and explore the rest of the world. :)

    I spent one semester there and enjoyed it. Mormons are just like the rest of the world...all from different walks of life.

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  28. You picked the right time to comment on my blog cause it led me to yours and this is an amazing post! I'm Catholic and I grew up here and to be honest I wouldn't change it for anything. I may not be part of the religion but I feel because Utah is predominantly Mormon that is one of the reasons I love to call this my home. People are accepting and caring and look out for one another. I had a friend here from the east coast recently visiting and they were baffled and how nice everyone on the street was, and how friendly strangers were. I thought it was strange because I've never known anything different and I'm glad to be a part of a place that is so welcoming! I have had my share of intolerance though don't get me wrong, there were times that I couldn't have friends sleepover because I wasn't Mormon, and there are times where I see it more probably becasue I am a Catholic but for the most part I feel that even if our views are different people can get along despite different religions.

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    1. Loved this Jordan :)! Yes, there are far more amazing things about Utah and the people here then there are bad in my opinion!

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  29. Loved your insight and sharing your experience around all this. I'm glad you came into your own even more -- religion-wise -- when you moved to Utah, and that it reinforced your faith. :-)

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  30. I am a "Utah" mormon being born and raised here but I have also lived outside of Utah, have plenty of friends and family that are from all over, and I married someone from outside of Utah (Seattle). So I have a couple different insights I guess on this topic. I feel like "Utah Mormons" is such a blanket statement. While I am one, I feel like I have tried to always be accepting and open minded of all cultures and religions and have tried not to be closed minded. I always hate when I get lumped into the same category as the crazy, or judgmental ones just because they are from Utah. After living in Provo for a couple years for school I met plenty of mormons from Cali, Arizona...and I didn't feel that they were any more open minded than I was. A lot of them had some crazy views on religion.
    We also lived in California for two years after we were married and I loved the wards and members but same thing. You find the same "kind" of mormons, you know the ones I'm talking about...everywhere you go. I did LOVE how welcoming the members were and how quickly you attach to them because for a lot of people you are their family. Listening to my husbands stories about growing up outside of Utah I do think that as a youth it makes you really decide early on if you want to stick with it and be an example, or follow the path as many of your non-member friends. I think that is a huge growing experience for the youth. But I'm also grateful for my experience and the fact that I wasn't faced with a lot of the same situations that he was as a youth because a lot of my friends were members, and non-members as well. I think no matter where you live kids are going to have bad things thrown at them at every curve...that's just the world we live in right now. I also think no matter where you live or go you will always be faced with judgmental, close minded mormons (and other religions as well)...sadly that's the culture that some mormon families have adopted and cultivate in their homes....but the good thing about it is the Gospel is perfect not the members. And I think if you raise your kids and set the example for those around you to be open and accepting, and kind, that's all you can do.
    I don't disagree with some of you statements and I'm totally not trying to be confrontational. I just thought I would add a different opinion :) xo

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    1. Like I said, it isn’t better to grow up outside of Utah or in it as a Mormon, there are pros and cons to both. It is true you can find "those kinds" of Mormons anywhere, and I definitely admit that while writing this post I was speaking of a very specific stereotype which means I don’t lump all members from Utah into this. In fact I would like to say that only a small portion of the Mormon religion here in Utah suffers from this culture. But I have had very specific experiences where other members judge me because I wasn’t raised in Utah. Just pointing out a part of the culture that does exist here that I find interesting and wanted to discuss, and I definitely don’t assume this of people I meet here ;) I have truly grown to love Utah and the people here.

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    2. p.s. different opinions are always welcome :)

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  31. I can totally relate to you Alycia, since I have pretty much the same story you do. I see the same things and I think it's very interesting. I've always said I don't want to live in that "culture" Utah has, but Utah has come to have a special place in my heart, like it or not. Ha. It's still a great place. :)

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  32. I had a culture shock moving to Utah, but also one when I left and felt like I left the bubble.

    There are a lot of things I miss about Utah. I really enjoyed not hearing the f-bomb and a variety of other things being yelled at children at grocery stores and the list goes on. I also miss how easy it was to make friends and build a connection with people.

    In my BYU wards I had less people from Utah than I actually do in Georgia. Our ward is almost all Utah transplants and I find myself feeling a little weird here at times because they group up because of it.

    That being said, I loved my time in Utah/BYU. It was what I needed for that phase of life and I still miss aspects of it, but I know that for me I needed a different experience growing up and for our family now too.

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    1. I totally agree Autumn, I have loved my time here, and while I think Utah is a great place to raise a family - if we were to stay here for good, I would have to make a real effort to try and show my children how the real world is outside of here, because I think the youth sometimes don't see it until much later on here haha

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  33. I'm not Mormon, but I found this post really interesting as I am somewhat fascinated by the Mormon culture, especially since it is so prevalent throughout the blogosphere. I really had no idea that there was such a culture difference between Utah Mormons and other Mormons, but reading these comments has been so interesting and educating. Mormon or not, I think living somewhere so homogenous would be hard for me... I live in a very diverse part of the country (San Francisco) and what I love most is being surrounded by so many different viewpoints, cultures, religions, etc. Really great post!

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    1. There really are a TON of Mormon bloggers huh?! haha It even surprises me!

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  34. I like this post. It's interesting for me to read about being Mormon. I think it is because I have never really met a Mormon.

    I kind of laughed when you kept saying "This sounds stereotypical" or "I might be stereotyping". I don't think you should apologize for doing that. You are noticing things that are common and they are not necessarily bad thing.

    I kind of wonder how it would feel to be a non-Mormon in Utah. Do Mormons tend to stick together? Do they tend to "stay-away" from non-Mormons. I can imagine that they would stick to each other since they have beliefs in common. I have seen similar things happen at school when it comes to nationality.

    Anyways. this was a random comment and I am sorry for babbling. I just loved this post and it honestly had me thinking about society and how people with similar beliefs and cultures tend to stick together!

    XO Lourdes

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    1. babble away! I think it varies to be honest. I have so many non-mormon friends! But there are alot of people here who don't really because they were just raised here and so many people are. I don't think there is anything wrong and it almost seems natural for humans to want to be around people like them, but with that said I think the problem lies when that is all they are comfortable with... does that make sense?

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  35. Imagine my culture shock when my very first class at BYU included a prayer..in Spanish. I nearly died, dropped the class, and grew to love so many things about Utah Mormon culture.

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    1. Oh yes, the prayers... well it is a private religious school so I guess you can expect that! I remember when I went to a u of u vs byu volleyball game at the Y and being surprised they opened it with a prayer haha now I just expect it :)

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  36. I'm not Mormon but I always grew up in predominantly Christian surroundings. No one looked at you weird when you had youth group or prayer meetings to go to, it was the norm. However, when I moved to South Korea it was the first time that was different. For a long time I got funny looks when I would tell my fellow expat teachers that I was going to church and it was definitely the first time that I had to defend my religion and felt attacked by non believers. So I guess I had your sort of experience but in reverse. It took some time to get used to but I've felt that defending my beliefs have made me stronger for it.

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    1. I think we all have experiences like this no matter where we live right? We all have our own unique experiences but at the end of the day we can relate to them? haha

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  37. Great post Alycia! Wow it really has got me thinking. My husband and I want to move there soon and stay there, like for good. I am not mormon but the hubs is and his family is. They are the best and are never pressuring me what so ever. I am honestly so curious and hoping that I'll be ok in this new place, a very mormon populated place. I'm sure there are pro's and con's of course but I definitely have got to thinking after this post. Especially coming from you! We might just have to talk more on this one :) Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Kristal, e-mail me anytime ;) I mentioned in the comments above that I do love living in Utah and feel like there are definitely way more pros then cons. So I wouldn't be too worried about moving here, but it is something to maybe be aware of coming in so you won't be so surprised by it haha I think you would love it here and the bonus is we could hang out? haha When are you thinking of moving here?!

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  40. Somehow I managed to delete my original comment on accident (grr sticky keyboard). First off, Alycia, I just love you! It's been far too long since I've seen you! I loved this post. I'm a Mormon (and proud of it), and I've lived in Utah my whole life, and I completely know about the "Utah Mormon" culture you are talking about. I guess I wouldn't call it a culture, I'd call it a select few who don't have anything better to do than bring others down. I have had a few experiences myself with feeling judged because I wasn't a "good enough Mormon." Those experiences, surprisingly helped me become a stronger person (and taught me to not let others who truly don't know me bring me down). I have friends, and family of all faiths, cultures, and beliefs and I love them all so much. I try (my best) do what Christ said, and that is to love EVERYBODY (not just people who think the same way as you). There are people here who are loving and accepting, and people who are not, but you could find that anywhere. Negative, judgmental people (cause lets face it, they are out there and they are everywhere) aren't worth trying to win over, because you will never be good enough, perfect enough, etc. for them. Plus why would I want to be bothered by people like that anyways (not worth my time).
    Thanks again Alycia! I love reading your blog, you have the most fantastic writing style! Miss you!

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    1. Madisen! I miss you too! Where are you guys living these days? We should have a little reunion :) Loved reading this comment, thanks for giving your input! I agree that maybe calling it the "culture" is maybe blanketing it over everyone when in reality I like to think as well that it is more of select group.

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    2. We are living in Bountiful, and a little reunion sounds wonderful!! We could even get together in Provo sometime :) text me, 435-503-1768. Hope all is going well in Provo, next time I'm there I'll have to let you know. Lunch?

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  41. also, the previous comments under Health For Life were from me....forgot to log out of my work account. oops :( sometimes I struggle......

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  42. Don't you just love a look back on all the memories...such a great picture, and I really found it interesting to learn more about you and being a Mormon, thank you for sharing this with all of us! Sounds like you learned so much, which is what college, no matter what type, is all about! :)

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  43. I feel like I could spend all day reading these comments! I grew up in the DC suburbs, not really going to any church and then eventually graduated from a Catholic high school, although I was never baptized. I was later baptized into the LDS Church when I was 23, the only member in my family/friends. I continued going to the local family ward and was quite the convert "nerd." :) I spent a great deal of time learning from the missionaries throughout the Mission here. I loved it and loved my ward so much! Many families in the ward had gone to BYU or were from Utah, though, and moved here to work for the government, so there was still a rather large "Utah" influence. So, I felt like it made sense for me to move to Utah too to have that experience!

    So, less than a year after joining the Church, I moved to SLC and into a very small singles ward - my first singles ward. I was pretty uncomfortable to say the least. It was SO weird being around other people my age that were for the most part, born and raised LDS as were generations of their families. I felt like an outcast as a convert because most people just assumed I came from an LDS family, and I really started losing my identity. It always felt like a competition and I stopped feeling "good enough." As the shock and excitement of moving to a new city wore off, the "culture" became very strong to me. I started dating a guy [whom I later married and then divorced, ugh] who grew up LDS and lived in SLC since he was a child. It was very tough for me to portray how I felt "out of place" so frequently. I had several talks with the Bishop about how difficult it had become for me to separate the "culture" from the "religion." It greatly affected my testimony and I ended up completely losing myself in it all. After the divorce, I moved back to the DC area to sort everything out and find myself again. I still LOVE Utah so very much and miss it like crazy. Although I have decided to no longer be active, I respect members of the Church and know everyone is different and experiences different things :) This is something I never share so thanks for opening up this forum! :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing that personal part of your life :) The gospel is for everyone, and although you've chosen to be inactive now the Lord will always be active in your life.

      I sincerely wish you the very best in everything!

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    2. I appreciate you being so open and honest, this is what I love about blogging :) I feel like this is an important conversation to have and to understand better and I think your personal experiance is extreamly valid. Hope all is going well for you Chelsea!

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  44. Um, YES! There is completely Utah Mormon Culture. I grew up in Utah, but spent a year in CT and now live in CA with my husband and we have both agreed that we will never raise our children in Utah. Even though we're both Mormons and love the gospel, it's just not the atmosphere we want to raise a family in.
    I feel that everyone has this stigma about CA and how the schools are terrible and it's dangerous and this and that but the truth is Utah is very dangerous too. Just for different reasons. It has the largest depression rate because everyone is competing to be the best, look the best, and have the best. That doesn't mean their good people, but I feel because there are SO many mormons, the main trials people experience are fitting in in other worldly ways. There are so many cliques it's ridiculous.
    And if a member is struggling or inactive, instead of embracing them and genuinely caring about them, they tend to be shunned. That was the biggest thing I noticed when I moved to CT. The ward was so close and when one person stopped coming to seminary everyone genuinely missed and cared about him. The ward really was a family. The way it should be. In Utah, everyone is mormon... it doesn't make you want to stick together as much.

    Just my observation! :) Again, this doesn't mean all Utah mormons are terrible. I have a lot of family that live there and are wonderful people that are sincere and loving to all. It's just one of those things.

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    1. Glenna, I too hate the stigma that California is "bad" or that the high schools are "bad" I went to an amazing high school and grew up in a great community. California is massive and when everyone thinks it is "compton" here it blows my mind! haha

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  45. I have never lived in Utah, and I have actually lived all over America because my dad was in the military BUT when my husband got into dental school we moved into a small community where nearly everyone is from Utah. It is so different!!! I can not emphasize enough that it is definitely a different culture. Like you said, it isn't a bad thing, just certainly not what I am used to.

    I actually like it now that I am used to it, but for a little while it kinda threw me off. I still have a hard time understanding people sometimes- just because we have such different backgrounds that we sometimes misunderstand each other.

    Wow, I have learned so much living in this Utah community, mostly about "worldly" things like decorating houses and how to dress and what cleaner to use, what kind of clothes to buy ect. which kinda makes me laugh but I don't mind it- we have to find ways to connect in non-religious ways too! And I find it refreshing that the connecting isn't done through gossiping, partying, complaining, ect.

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    1. haha this doesn't surprise me, Mormon women can be very good "homemakers" in the sense that you were talking about haha

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  46. I moved to Utah about a year after I was baptized. It was totally weird for me, and not in a good way.

    At my ward in CA, everyone was SO nice, friendly, welcoming, and helpful. The bishop's wife drove me to church and met up with me weekly to teach me more. My Sunday school teacher talked to me before every lesson asking if I had any questions. Everyone was just so stinking nice. My first time at a ward in Utah was not fun. I went to my boyfriend's ward, and no one said a word to me. When he introduced me to someone, no one ever said more than 'hi'. I hated the YSA ward. I felt like it was a competition in there. Who had the cutest church clothes, the curliest, best hair, who had the most guys pining after them. And my Sunday school class was like a 'who is the most righteous' competition. Someone really gave a closing prayer asking for world peace and an end to starvation around the world. I just hated feeling like everyone was trying to out-Mormon you. Of course, not everyone was like this. I did end up finding a good ward, and I knew plenty of very genuine people. But it was a culture shock going from CA to Utah. I felt like I wasn't a good enough Mormon.

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    1. I am sorry you felt that way and had to deal with that Kell, but am happy you ended up finding a good ward! I totally relate to some of what you said about sometimes wards esp YSA not being very welcoming. The clicks can get so intense sometimes in those wards and you can be in them for a year and feel like you don't even know anyone!

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  47. Great post!
    I have never been to Utah but would love to!
    My husband used to go snowboarding every year there.
    I heard it's beautiful.

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  48. A part of our family lived there for a few years for a job transition and they were not Morman. They said it was a pretty unique experience to live somewhere so dominated by one religion but, that everyone was very nice so that's awesome:). I think it's rather special to have so much heritage in one place! I would love that!

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    1. Casey, it is a very cool aspect of my life that I have such a strong dominating heritage that pretty much built an entire state! I value it very much :)

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    1. I never once said, or implied that part of this "stereotype" meant that someone didn't have a real testimony. In fact, the post wasn't about people's testimonies at all, but was addressing the difference of being raised Mormon in Utah and out of Utah and the differences we have individually experienced. I even said I wouldn't say one was better then the other but that they come with their pros and cons from both ends.

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  50. Ha! I understand this post perfectly! Having come from San Diego myself and then entering "mormon territory" was a whole new experience. Thank you for explaining it so eloquently!

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  51. Hey, I thought I would chime in :) I came to Utah from CT hoping to really enjoy the populated Mormon culture, and in turn it ended up freaking me out. Badly. I was the only Mormon in my high school growing up, so I was in extreme culture shock and basically thought everyone was weird. I knew things were different when one of the girls on my dorm floor wanted to stay in and "read her scrips" instead of going out for ice cream on a friday night. like, WHAT? i mostly dislike how it overwhelms the work environment... ugh, i won't even get started on that. i've been here for 7 years now and although it's not my favorite culture, I've met some really fun and diverse groups of people here, it just took some sifting to find people who think like me!

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    1. Kristen, thanks for the comment! One of my really good co-workers here was raised LDS in California and felt the same way when she came here. She isn't LDS anymore and always feels out of place specifically in the work place just like you said! It seems that in most offices etc. pretty much everyone is Mormon - which isn't necessarily bad, but if it makes you feel alienated then it is.

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  52. You pretty much just put into words what I have felt and experienced moving to Utah. I came to Utah State University from New Jersey and that was a TOTAL culture shock for me too. Growing up where there are far less Mormons I had to learn real fast what I was going to stand for and why. I'm grateful that I grew up where I did because I really learned how to live in the world and not of the world. Now with that being said, I have loved the people I have met here that were born and raised in Utah and some have become like family to me. In the end the church is the church no matter where you're from and where you were raised, and for that I am grateful :) Great post! Thanks for your thoughts.

    itismelindamarie.blogspot.com

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    1. I know what you mean about making friend that are like family here! Although I have talked about the culture, I do love the people here :)

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  53. I know exactly what you're talking about.I did just the opposite! I grew up in Utah, got married and moved to California. It definitely has been different. A good different. Explaining myself like I have never had to while in Utah but it has lead me to learn more and lean away from just my parents' testimonies and beliefs. I was able to really dive into scripture study and form my OWN opinion and trust in things that cannot be seen. I learned what TRUE faith is and that was the best thing that could ever happen to me. Being away from Utah has helped me find myself even if at times I have to stand alone!!

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  54. Girl YES! My parents were converts, and I grew up in the church until I was 17. My dad got orders to Hill AFB (It;s in Clearfield/ Layton) when I was a kid and we were excited b.c we had always been the ones out of place religiously with our friends. It was a huge difference! Living there was actually a major factor in our decision to leave the church, but I still loved living there! It was so easy to be a teenager! There was no temptation simply b/c nobody was doing anything they shouldn't have! My non-LDS friends used to claim it was like a bubble, and it totally is. But I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing! I enjoyed living there, and was sad when we moved. I'd love to take my husband there to visit one day :)

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  55. First off, new follower and found this post! I am a non-Mormon. I really never knew a lot about Mormonism until I started making friends in college and then now blogging. My husband's grandparents left the Mormon church and really seemed to have some animosity which made me sad. I could only sit there thinking how I loved how the Mormon culture takes care of their own (something lost all too often today) with good morals and values. I know all my 1, 2, and even 3rd cousins still today and my husband, who was pen pals with his cousins (all Mormon), but completely lost contact with them. I am currently trying to convince him to seek them out and take me to Utah which is something I have never done! My husband does have a non-Mormon aunt and uncle that we are close to who live in Utah. They love it! They don't have kids though and my husband said it would be harder because their kids wouldn't be apart of the church and therefore more left out. I never really thought about that. I say keep on being accepting and God will reward you. I hope what I wrote made any sense at all. :-)

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  56. I was just clicking through your list of posts on your sidebar and loved this one because I have often thought about this subject!

    I grew up in UT, but have lived in CA for the past 3 years. I have definitely loved living outside of the bubble and really enjoy having missionary experiences and having to explain the lingo. I have had a couple callings with the Young Women, and I love seeing how strong they are because they are the minority and have had to figure out what they really believe and stand for it at a young age (which still happens in UT, but definitely not with everyone!) I also love seeing different RACES of people here! haha! I never realized how white UT was until the first time we came back to visit after moving away and I was like, "Something is weird...Oh! Almost EVERYONE is white!" I can totally see what you mean about some people becoming complacent and taking their religion for granted. I had some non member friends at work there and they told me their experiences being left out growing up because they weren't Mormon. It's sad that things like that happen sometimes. Like you said, not everyone there is like that, but it happens. Growing up there I saw both ends of the spectrum.

    On the other hand, I will say that I have experienced similar things here in CA with other Mormons. My husband and I have moved a couple times, and when we're new to our ward and people ask us where I'm from and I say UT, a lot of times I get a cringe in response. And when they hear my husband is from Ohio, usually they say something like, "Well that's a little better." People tell me how judgmental UT people are, how much they hate UT mormons, how the church is so much better outside of UT, make some crack comment about "Utards"....and then in the same breath ask me if I am feeling welcome there in the new ward?? Uh, yeah....your ignorant, judgmental, blanket statements about my home just made me feel nice and cozy. I'm so glad we are here in CA to be saved!!! haha!

    Basically, I have learned that it swings both ways. You can't have it all! There are things to love and hate about anywhere you live, and anyone, for that matter. Luckily, I just ignore the dumb comments and show them how cool I am despite my "Utard" roots. ;)

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  57. Holy cow. I did NOT realize how long that was. ^^^ Just thought you'd like a novel to read this evening?? ha!

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  58. I loved reading this. I'm very fascinated with different cultures, faiths and religions on a personal level. I live in Washington and in my "neighborhood", I say that loosely since I live in the countryside, there are two Mormon families. One of the families keeps very to themselves and seem a little culture shocked just going outside of their home. The other neighboring family, the wife seems quite unhappy and my neighbor hears the husband yelling, but they do have like 5 sons, so there could be the reason! Ha! Anyway, to me and my neighbor who is of the Christian faith like me, we do 'notice' differences because our neighbors seem to keep so to themselves. They would not talk to either of us unless we were to initiate conversation. Anyway, with that said, I notice these same differences in my own faith as well. And that led me to question it and stop going to the church I was attending. Actually, out of all the morman families I have met or been around here in Washington, I've one found two families that were not openly judge mental and were very kind people. Then I started finding a lot of the blogs I loved were Mormans and they are some of the sweetest nicest people. It has opened my eyes more because my personal experience in Washington hasn't been that great or accepting with the Mormans here. I'm so grateful to have found bloggers like you that have helped me see that we're all the same. And we're all on our own paths within our faiths. And we shouldn't be judging each other because where we are in those paths are most likely different. Leaving my old church has actually strengthened my own faith. I was going to one of those churches that has a HUGE congregation and I just found it to not be what I needed personally anymore. I now need something smaller and more quiet and peaceful. That just may because I've gotten older and more comfortable with myself as well.
    Anyway, I hope I didn't offend anyone either, just voicing my own experiences and I'm so happy you spoke on this today and I'm very glad to have found your blog and what a sweet woman you are!
    xoxo- K

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  59. I am a Utah Mormon and I feel like many of the comments on this blog are clumping all "Utah Mormons" together as being judgemental, close minded, non accepting, etc. While saying that about us, aren't you all in turn judging us? You cannot possibly know every Mormon in Utah because you lived here for a time or a season. I have never felt the competition to be the best Mormon, or felt inadequate because of something my neighbors do. You go to church because you believe in the gospel. Having people to associate with at church is a bonus, but that's not why I go to church.

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